This post is dedicated to a brand of wine I haven’t yet had the privilege to taste.
Let me start off by noting that one of my favorite musicians, Maynard James Keenan, is the brains behind this company. I’m not a wine snob. Let me clarify that; I am not someone who is an experienced wine taster, who can pick apart aromas and tastes and acidity levels or whatever it is that wine tasters do. I just enjoy a cheap bottle of wine whenever I can, and that is basically the extent of my wine tasting skills.
Mr. Keenan has managed to create reds, whites, and roses by using predominantly Spanish and Italian varietals (a wine made principally from one variety of grape and carrying the name of that grape) in the Verde Valley of Arizona, where Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards is located.
“This is a prime spot for vineyards. An untapped resource. But the master plan is to have the Merkin Vineyards Bed and Breakfast set up for when California drops in the ocean. Beach front property and the New Napa Valley. You got it.” -Keenan in an interview, September 13, 2006
Keenan’s mother died in 2003, at the age of 59, due to complications from a brain aneurysm. Following her death, he scattered her ashes across one of his vineyards, later honoring her memory with his Cabernet Sauvignon ”Nagual del Judith”, the first made entirely with grapes from Merkin Vineyards. In a statement released in April 2009, Keenan stated:
I am standing on a metaphorical plateau. The view from here suggests that I/we still have many mountains to negotiate. It has already been a long journey. But the successes and failures have been in balance. Which would suggest that I/we have chosen the correct path. I hold in my hands the evidence to support this statement . . . With tears in my eyes, I present to you the very first 100 percent Arizona Caduceus wine. Nagual del Judith, named after my late mother, Judith Marie, whose ashes are spread across this Northern Arizona vineyard. These vines and wines are her resurrection and her wings.